Peking : On July 13, Peking University’s (PKU) 2021 Graduation Ceremony for Undergraduates was held, heralding the end of students’ life journey while marking the beginning of their next one. Over 3000 undergraduates received their bachelor’s degrees.
Before the graduation ceremony officially commenced, the PKU Student Symphony Orchestra, A Cappella Club of PKU, and other associations brought breathtaking performances, igniting parting feelings in the hearts of the graduates.
Following the performances, a meticulously produced graduation commemorative film was screened. The film recorded in detail the unforgettable experiences of the 2021 graduates on campus: from military training in the sweltering heat to the difficult and life-changing epidemic; from the renovation of the East Wing of PKU Library to the opening of Jiayuan Canteen. These are the remarkable fragments that belong to and are treasured by the Class of 2021.
The graduation ceremony was chaired by PKU Executive Vice President Gong Qihuang. Qiao Jie, also an executive vice president of PKU, announced that 580 undergraduates would be awarded the honorary title of “Excellent Graduates of Peking University in 2021”, and that 177 undergraduates were recommended to be selected as “Outstanding Graduates of Beijing’s Higher Education Institutions”. Qiu Shuiping, chair of PKU Council, presented the awards to representatives of outstanding graduates.
Speaking at the ceremony, Hao Ping, president of PKU, expressed his heartfelt congratulations to the graduates in a rousing speech. “You are walking in tandem with a great era, born into a time of opportunity with heavy responsibilities to bear, and are a strategic force in achieving the second centenary goal. You carry great expectations of the people and the nation,” President Hao said. To this end, he shared four hopes he had for the graduates. “I hope you can construct the foundation of ideals and beliefs in the new era; I hope you will stay rooted amongst the people; I hope you will face and overcome all challenges with indomitable courage; I hope you will always harbor the enthusiasm of learning and the spirit of innovation!” With his speech, President Hao announced the conferral of bachelor’s degrees.
The announcement of new discoveries at the Sanxingdui Ruins site in March brought an archaeologist, who has been working diligently and namelessly for 37 years, to public attention. The archaeologist was revealed to be PKU alumnus Lei Yu, beginning his journey at PKU in 1980. He is now the head of the Sanxingdui Ruins site workstation and leader of the excavation team. The Sanxingdui Ruins site in south China’s Sichuan province is among the most important findings in Chinese archaeology history, for it represents the ancient Shu civilization that environs through the early Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), and as such has enriched theory surrounding the origin of Chinese civilization. Lei shed light on the seemingly mysterious ruins site, explaining that the discovery of Sanxingdui was not just a matter of chance. He elaborated that the find could not have been achieved without the perseverance of generations of preceding archaeologists. Stressing that no success is achieved overnight, Lei wished for the graduates to “always keep a pioneering mind and an open heart, remain curious and imaginative, and uphold the spirit of perseverance.”
Professor Cheng Heping from the College of Future Technology, spoke as the teacher representative and gave the most sincere congratulations and best wishes to all graduates. Cheng, who is a cellular biologist and biophysicist now, recalled his school years at PKU through the analogy of “opening doors”, where he explored different majors and received degrees in multiple fields. Drawing from his own experience in scientific research and discovering calcium sparks, he encouraged graduates to “open one more door”, to keep faith in themselves, to stay curious about the world and to keep alive young spirits. “The human body is so fantastic, the world so enormous and the universe so infinite, that they leave us with endless subjects to explore and discover, and summon countless young talents to contribute efforts and devote themselves,” he expressed emotionally. By comparing today’s students with young pioneers in China 100 years ago, he expects the new generation to similarly take up responsibilities and duties due to their families and country, to courageously open door after door, and to embrace the splendid life given to all of us.
Sun Shuo, a graduate representative from the School of Journalism and Communication, addressed the audience. She linked together her four-year experience at PKU with a humble term: point-position. The term, which can refer to something ranging from the number filled out on the university application form (e.g. 10001 for Peking University) to where attendees were exactly seated at the graduation ceremony, was interpreted by her in the abstract as a device to record points that marked changing trajectories during her four years of growth. Meanwhile, Sun shared her beliefs that each of us should find our own “point-position”, and that every tiny “point-position” can amass into a powerful force strong enough to drive the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. “Please believe that this young generation, like our forefathers, will live up to heavy expectations, live up to the times, live up to the era, and strive forever,” she exclaimed.
In addition, a video containing heartfelt congratulations and farewell messages from faculty members and staff was screened. The undergraduate representatives also presented parents, faculty members and staff, high school principals, and scholarship donors with bouquets to show their gratitude.
The graduation ceremony wrapped up with a chorus of the well-beloved tune “My Love for Yanyuan Garden”, a moving broadcast to the Yanyuan campus which has served as a container of vibrant memories, a birthplace of opportunities, and cradle of life anew.